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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > What to expect for my first AG
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:20 AM   #1
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Default What to expect for my first AG

Pretty pumped. I have a 10 gallon igloo with false bottom on its way along with 11lbs 2 row, 1lb vienna and .5 lb crystal 40. If all goes well with my move to a new house this week, I'd like to brew on Memorial Day. I have some magnum and several ounces of cascade on hand, so that's what I'll be using for my hops. Also have a few packs of Notty Ale Yeast.

What can I expect for efficiency my first go around? I know there are some factors like PH, mash temp, etc so that's where my questions lie. I'd like to use tap water treated with campden tablets. I'll be on the same water in my new house and based on my current shower and shower head, probably have a decent amount of calcium in it. Without knowing the chemistry, would I be better off going half tap and half distilled water for a pale or IPA?

I plan to adjust the hops based on my OG. If it's in the 1.06 range I'll go with an IPA and use more hops. If it's in the 1.04 range, I'll shoot for a pale ale. I'd like to end up with 5.5 in the primary when all is said and done.

I need the most help with water quantities. Going for 5.5 gallons in the primary, how much water should I use for the mash and how much for the sparge? This will be my first completely full boil, so should I shoot to collect 6.5 gallons accounting for 1 gallon of boil off and hop absorbtion over 60 minutes?

On water temps, does 152 sound right for the grain bill listed? I'm guessing I'll need to heat the water to a higher temp to hit that 152 mark... how much higher should it be to account for heat loss during transfer and bringing the grain up to temp. Should I add the grain to hot water or add the hot water to the grain? For the sparge, I plan to sprinkle the water as needed over the grain. If I have time before brew day, I might cut the bottom off a plastic fermenter and drill holes to allow the water to drain evenly over the grain bed.

Stirring. Should I do it once, twice, not at all? At what points should I stir and how long should I mash before starting the sparge? I'm guessing I'll need to add a little hot water each time I remove the lid and stir to keep the temp at 152ish.

I've done as much research as time will allow, but any insight into my first AG brew day is welcomed. Can't wait to post the results!

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Old 05-21-2012, 03:32 AM   #2
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I'm tired out after reading that... You sound like you've got a decent handle on things. First off, I'd try not to worry too much about your efficiency too much, or else you'll be obsessed with it and get bummed if you don't hit all your numbers. I just did my second all grain. My first, I was worried about efficiency, and was bummed out. Kegged and tasted last week, and all I could think about was how it could have been better. My friends and family have all raved about it, and my brew club had positive things to say as well.

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Old 05-21-2012, 03:47 AM   #3
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yeah, its a lot... just trying to get ahead of the game and eliminate as many hangups as possible my first go around.

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Old 05-21-2012, 04:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamsdealer
yeah, its a lot... just trying to get ahead of the game and eliminate as many hangups as possible my first go around.
The first one is the hardest. You'll screw up something. Forget something. Whatevs. You'll still make good beer. Relax and have fun with the experience and you'll be way more open to learning. And write down EVERYTHING. Then you can go back later and look at it again if you need to.
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChandlerBang

The first one is the hardest. You'll screw up something. Forget something. Whatevs. You'll still make good beer. Relax and have fun with the experience and you'll be way more open to learning. And write down EVERYTHING. Then you can go back later and look at it again if you need to.
+10 to this. It's all a learning process, and a fun and tasty one at that :-)
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:01 AM   #6
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after my first AG i was really upset about my efficiency. i think i missed my expected OG by 0.02 (around a 50% efficiency). still made great beer though.

the most important aspect of getting used to AG is getting to know your system. as long as you know your system, you can get a consistent efficiency...and as you get to know your system more and more, you'll eventually be able to get a consistent and high efficiency.

once you go AG, you'll never look back. you'll also begin to appreciate your maltier beers much, much more.

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Old 05-21-2012, 09:23 AM   #7
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after my first AG i was really upset about my efficiency. i think i missed my expected OG by 0.02 (around a 50% efficiency). still made great beer though.

the most important aspect of getting used to AG is getting to know your system. as long as you know your system, you can get a consistent efficiency...and as you get to know your system more and more, you'll eventually be able to get a consistent and high efficiency.

once you go AG, you'll never look back. you'll also begin to appreciate your maltier beers much, much more.
I don't know about never looking back. I like to sneak in an extract brew for ease and speed.
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Old 05-31-2012, 12:50 AM   #8
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Well, my 1st all grain brew day was a total success. My efficiency was much better than expected so I upped the hop amounts and turned my pale ale into an IPA. I ended up with over 80% efficiency... I think because I collected the runnings and sparged too slowly. After an hour and 20 minutes of collecting wort, I was only around the 2.5 gallon mark so I opened up the valves a little and 40 minutes later I had over 7 gallons of wort at my expected post boil OG.

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Old 05-31-2012, 01:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChandlerBang
I don't know about never looking back. I like to sneak in an extract brew for ease and speed.
+1 on that. Especially when your local club gives you 7 lbs of extract free for going to an event.

Good job on the AG. Be careful on lautering too slow though. I've heard tannins and off flavors can get extracted when things are moving too slow. A stuck sparge or less efficiency is better than beer that has off flavors.
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:08 AM   #10
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Awesome. Congrats! Be sure to update us on how the beer turns out. Pictures!

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